The Tara Reade accusations have become a running sore in the Joe Biden campaign for the presidency that is not going away no matter what the former vice president and his supporters do. Team Biden has been trying the deny, deny, deny strategy that worked so well when Bill Clinton was fending off accusations of sexual misconduct.
Fox News reports that Biden tried the strategy when he sat down with MSNBCs Lawrence O’Donnell. It did not come out very well. As it turns out, the former vice president does not even remember the former aid.
“Well, to be honest with you, I don’t, but let me get something clear when a woman makes a claim that she has been harassed or abused, and this claim has changed… she should be taken seriously. She should come forward, share her story, she should be taken seriously and it should be thoroughly vetted. And in every case, what matters is the truth. The truth is what matters. And the truth of the case is nothing like this ever, ever happened… I give you my word. It never, ever happened.”
The kindest spin he can put on this answer is that Biden, who has been in public life since the early seventies, cannot be expected to remember everybody who ever worked for him. On the other hand, backing a woman up against the wall and digitally raping her is a big—er—deal. Is it possible that Biden did it and, because he is obviously amid the early onset of dementia, has forgotten all about it?
Instead of pursuing the interview along the above lines, O’Donnell shifted gears and referred to a recent piece in the New York Times by a supporter who stated that she believed Tara Reade but is going to vote for Biden anyway. The defeat of President Donald Trump is too important to quibble over such matters as rape and sexual assault. Biden had a curious response.
“Well, I think they should vote their heart and if they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn’t vote for me. I wouldn’t vote for me if I believed Tara Reade. The fact is that look at Tara Reade’s story. It changes considerably. And I don’t want to question her motive, I don’t want to question anything other than to say the truth matters. This is being vetted, it’s been vetted, and people scores of my employees over my whole career. This is just totally, thoroughly, completely out of character. And the idea that in a public place, in a hallway I would assault a woman? I mean, it’s just- I- anyway, I promise you. It never happened.”
The problem is that Biden has done things, not as shocking as putting his fingers where they are no welcome but disturbing nevertheless to women and girls in public places, where video cameras were there to record them. He tends to paw women and sniff their hair in ways that many find to be gross and off-putting.
However, the money quote from the interview is that Biden thinks that no one who believes Tara Reade should vote for him. The many people who do find Reade credible will doubtless nod their heads and suggest that is the point.
In the meantime, the scandal continues to be a he said she said situation, even though she, Tara Reade, has documentation that she told other people about the incident soon after or within a few years of it having allegedly occurred. And we have the powerful interview that Reade had with Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News personality who was also the object of sexual misconduct by a powerful man.
Biden can argue that no other woman has come forward and accused him of doing something to them quite as awful as he is alleged to have done to Tara Reade. That fact suggests one of three things.
One, that the assault was a one-time deal that was never repeated, possibly because Biden lost his nerve.
Two, that any other woman that Biden might have assaulted has been terrorized into silence. No one would casually subject herself to the ridicule and abuse that Tara Reade has been the recipient of.
Last, that Biden is telling the truth. The incident never happened and that Reade, for whatever reason, is lying.
The reader is invited to select the one alternative that is most credible.